VANCOUVER -- Warning sirens are being installed along the Capilano River, six months after an accident at the river’s Cleveland Dam took the lives of a father and son.

The pair had been fishing on the banks of the river, when a human error caused the dam gates to open without warning on Oct. 1, 2020. The river’s water level surged, and at least five people along the river banks were swept away.

Three of the people survived, but the father and son didn’t make it. Sixty-one-year-old Ryan Nickerson’s body was recovered within hours, but his son’s body, that of 27-year-old Hugh, was never found. Since then, friends and family members have been advocating for changes.

Metro Vancouver, the regional authority that operates the dam, now plans to install several warning sirens, with installation starting in April and lasting through May.

“We will install an interim public warning system that includes audible and visible alarms and additional public warning signage,” reads a statement from Metro Vancouver.

The interim system will include “public-facing alarms and sirens on wooden poles at six locations along the Capilano River.” Testing will happen during the daytime, over a two week period.

The warning sirens will be installed at the following locations:

  • Cleveland Dam Screen Room
  • Capilano River Hatchery
  • Trans-Canada Highway Bridge
  • Fullerton Bridge
  • Marine Drive Bridge
  • Taylor Way Bridge

The authority also says it is embarking on a public engagement project to get feedback and ideas for a permanent and long-term warning system. The final system will be designed in consultation with outside engineers.

Safety reports on the Cleveland Dam, previously obtained by CTV News Vancouver, showed that there had been several safety recommendations made before the accident that hadn’t been implemented.

Three Metro Vancouver employees were fired following the fatal incident.